Tributes flow after passing of Glenn Snoddy, inventor of the fuzz pedal

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Tributes flow after passing of Glenn Snoddy, inventor of the fuzz pedal

Snoddy was known as one of the top engineers in Nashville, with a career that started in the 1940’s and saw him contribute to sessions for Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, and Hank Williams. It was during a recording session with Robbins for Columbia Records in 1960 that Snoddy made the observation that would result in the invention of the fuzz pedal.


Upon hearing a strange distortion sound in the midst of a recording during the session for ‘Don’t Worry’, the room was instantly taken with the effect and Snoddy soon found himself being asked by artists to recreate it for their own recordings – but first, he had to figure out exactly how the sound was made.



“We thought there was something wrong, and something was wrong,” Snoddy told the Daily News Journal in 2016. “The transformer in the amplifier blew up.”


Using knowledge gained from his years as a radio repairman in the army and running live sound for the Grand Ole Opry, Snoddy began the process of building the revolutionary distortion pedal.


 “I had to get busy and figure out how to do this if we wanted to keep this sound. So I took apart [the console] and figured out how to make [that distorted sound],” Snoddy said.


The inventor soon developed a pedal with a button guitarists could press to distort sound. When Gibson got word of the device, they bought the rights to manufacture what would become the Maestro Fuzz-Tone.



In addition to creating a piece of gear still loved by guitarists today, Snoddy was also enormously influential in the Nashville music scene as a result of his work in sound engineering. He recorded Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring Of Fire’, and recorded four songs in the last ever session for Hank Williams: ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’, ‘Kaw-Liga’, ‘Take These Chains From My Heart’, and ‘I Could Never Be Ashamed Of Loving You’.


Snoddy will also be remembered with military honours, having served his country in the US Army during World War II and earning three bronze stars.


Read our history of the guitar effects pedal here.


Image via Elmer Williams/Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum/Getty Images.